Review of United flight Houston Washington in Domestic First

Airline United
Flight UA321
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 757-200
Flight time 02:05
Take-off 20 Jun 16, 17:15
Arrival at 20 Jun 16, 20:20
UA   #114 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 261 reviews
greg787
By 1420
Published on 26th June 2016
Hello all and thanks for reading. After a long absence I'm back with trip report of an itinerary I just completed. Work had me going out to a vessel and it was a last minute thing. As such, all the discounted economy seats were taken and the difference between full fare Y and F was minimal so I jumped at it. I also jumped at the opportunity of flying on a domestic leg flown by one of United's internationally configured 757-200's. This means lie-flats!
I dropped off my car at the lot and already began plane spotting. Here is AF's daily 777 flight from CDG.
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After dropping my bag off at the makeshift bag drop in Terminal C (they're doing a small renovation to this area) I was quickly through security. Precheck had me through in about 3 minutes.
The famous statue of the airports namesake right as you get to the airside. Always thought this was a weird pose to have the statue in.
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I quickly walked to C-41 to make sure that was the correct gate and just to familiarize myself with how boarding will be. (It's just a routine I always do even though I've flown from IAH too many times to count now.)
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I then decided I would walk to the International terminal D. This is my favorite hallway at IAH. It's the scarcely traveled corridor between C and D. Always quite, I just barely fit on the window sill, and great views of the International birds.
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Here is today’s lineup.


Had to get this photo of a BA 777 just after touchdown.
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An Air New Zealand 777 parked to make room at the gates.
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The sea of empty containers.
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Same BA 777 taxing in. Notice the off colored engine cowling.


With my Priority Pass membership I get access to the KLM Crown Lounge or the Air France Lounge.
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For this FR [Flight Report], let’s do Air France’s Salon lounge.
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It’s accessed by a lone door at the far end of Terminal D. Always thought the entrance way could be better. I guess they did that by adding the above sign. For the longest time, I never knew this lounge even existed. I read about it, but could never find it.
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Inside the lounge, there is a station for beverages. Coffee, soft drinks, mixers, wine, beer and champagne. Couldn't get a clear photo since there was always someone there. It'll be in a future FR that I'll do. This is the food selection. Always the same line up but with a soup of the day. That’s usually my ‘go to’ option. Today's is Tomato bisque with a glass of G.H. Mumms champagne.
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At the end of the lounge there are some bar stools and a counter that I always sit at. It has a view looking east. This is one of the elevated taxiways that connect the north part of the airport with the south. Interesting note, it supports the weight of a 747 but it’s not rated for an A380.
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United has two maintenance hangers at IAH. Here is a view from the lounge of one of them.
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Wonder if this spoon came off a plane?
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The third glass of champagne and some trail mix.
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After all that champagne I didn’t feel like walking to my gate so I took the tram. Well, and also to document it for the purposes of this FR! Here’s the stairs and escalators up to the station area.
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Onboard the tram, note the cowboy getup on the left. I guess this is a thing.
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The tram has one stop for both D & E and it’s right in-between the two terminals.
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C has a separate stop and so does B&A. Passing by an oncoming tram.
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At the C stop. Here is a current view of the construction for the new terminal C. Basically he whole north side of the airport will be shifting the left. This will be the new finger pier of terminal C. The current one will be demolished and renovated to become part of terminal D to support Int’l wide bodies, and D will be expanded down to there. That hallway I mentioned above; thats the area that will be expanded upon.
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My plane has arrived.
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I normally don't mind UA’s boarding procedure via groups, however when they are combined it never works. Especially for a larger plane like the 757.
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About to step onboard. Boarding is through the the mid plane door, so it’s an immediate turn to the left for me. Always a great feeling.
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I paused to take a picture of the mid-plane galley.
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Here’s the seat. It’s their International line flat. This is the inherited Continental design. The United lie flats are quite cramped, but those aren’t featured on the narrow body international ones.


View into the forward galley and cockpit.
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After getting settled in the Flight Services Coordinator welcomed me onboard and asked what I would like to drink.
UA’s pre departure drinks are always in plastic cups.
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My view during boarding.
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After boarding was complete (50 minutes later) we pushed back and then waited. I counted 16 planes lined up for Runway 9.

The reason was a weather delay and they were spacing departing aircraft through it.

The angry skies.
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An A320 came up alongside us also just having pushed back.
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Then we started taxiing away from 9 and towards 15 L/R.

That’s not a smudge on the photo that’s where the actual rain is.
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Planes coming in for a bumpy final approach.
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One of those planes was a cargolux 747-400.
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Since we where sitting for a while, I decided to pull up FR24. This was definitely not our taxi path.
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The rain’s a coming.
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I looked behind us and the LH A380 and AF 777 joined us in waiting. We were only 5th in line but since they were spacing the takeoffs more than usual, we waited a bit.


But shortly afterwards we were airborne. Thought people might be interested in the huge on ramps highways in Texas have. This is Beltway 8 and 59 intersection.
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Flying over Beaumont and the Sabine River. The second photo is of the Merchant Marine mothballed fleet. One of those was the ship I was on.
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After leveling off, the hot towels were passed out. I always find these to be too hot and so I let them cool a bit.
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Then ordered my dinner, a choice of Paella or curried chicken and rice was available. I absolutely had to try what airplane Paella was going to be. I also selected my drink then and chose a red wine. You pretty much don't have a choice other than white or red and don’t know the brand until they come around for refills. I recall them using Entwine 2014 cabernet sauvignon in the past so I gambled with a red.
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Then after about 20 minutes the meal tray was assembled in the galley and handed out.
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It wasn't too bad. Certainly looks good in the photo. The sausage was good and I was actually surprised by the shrimp. I was prepared for the worst, tough and a real ‘seafoodie' taste to it, but it had none of those. The salad was shredded cabbage and soybeans.

Dessert was a warm cookie. Remember this was a sub-3hr flight so this all was more than enough.
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At least I know they clean the screens.
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I then decided to recline and go fully flat, because ‘why not’!?
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Closed my eyes for about an hour, woke up a bit groggy so just sat on the bed and looked at the view out the window. Flying by IAD before coming in for a landing.
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This was my first time at IAD and I was quite taken by the lack of architecture at the nations capital’s international airport.
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After about a 45 minute wait, I walked out to my next plane that took me to my final destination.
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See more

Verdict

United

7.1/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering6.5

Air France Lounge

6.0/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Services6.0

Houston - IAH

7.0/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness6.5

Washington - IAD

6.5/10
Efficiency6.5
Access6.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

It was an interesting flight being on a lie flat for all of 2.5 hours. More than enough food.
Not sure I would willingly pay for tis flight if I had a choice. Just too short of a flight to justify it.

Related

6 Comments

  • Comment 354999 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing Greg!

    With the arrival of BR and NZ, the number of *A connections at IAH is getting a lot better and sure helping improve the tail line-ups at Terminal D. Nice spotting.

    The IAH-IAD route is always a good route to catch long-haul products, plenty of B767s and B777s rotating between the hubs. The B757 isn't the best of options, but better than a B737. More than sufficient comfort for this 2.5 hour flight.

    Is it me, or does the main look a whole lot more like a gumbo than a paella? The quantity and presentation looks a whole lot better than what AA has been offering recently. No milk with the cookie?

    From my experiences, the "Executive Club" at IAH is the best lounge in Terminal D since it has the most hot buffet options. The AF lounge is not bad, definitely better than any of the United Clubs! The new KL Crown Lounge that just opened might be nicer, too bad it wasn't on your Priority Pass list to see what it looks like inside.

    • Comment 355037 by
      greg787 AUTHOR 31 Comments

      Thanks for the comment.
      The meal didn't have enough seafood to be considered Paella I thought. But it's still more interesting than a typical beef or chicken main course.
      BA also has a F only lounge, so that and the Executive Club may be the best. Of course I've been to neither so can't say for sure.

    • Comment 355038 by
      greg787 AUTHOR 31 Comments

      Thanks for the comment.
      The meal didn't have enough seafood to be considered Paella I thought. But it's still more interesting than a typical beef or chicken main course.
      BA also has a F only lounge, so that and the Executive Club may be the best. Of course I've been to neither so can't say for sure.

  • Comment 355036 by
    greg787 AUTHOR 31 Comments

    Thanks for the comment.
    The meal didn't have enough seafood to be considered Paella I thought. But it's still more interesting than a typical beef or chicken main course.
    BA also has a F only lounge, so that and the Executive Club may be the best. Of course I've been to neither so can't say for sure.

  • Comment 355053 by
    757Fan 559 Comments

    Nice report of your experience with UA between IAH and IAD! I haven't been through IAH in a few years, but when I last passed through, my wife and I explored the international terminal. I didn't know Air New Zealand flew to IAH? Is this new?

    Food looks actually pretty tasty there ... Thanks for sharing!

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